Front suspension, disc brakes & gears

actomox

Finding my (electric) wheels
Jan 25, 2018
5
0
78
Merseyside
#1
With the better weather around the corner (it is, isn't it?) I have been considering buying a couple of electric bikes for my wife and myself. We are both mid 70's. I cycle already but beginning fo find hills (slopes!) a strain. My wife has had problems with her knees but would like to get back to cycling.

We don't have a regular commute so it would be mainly trips to the shops and some riding on cycle trails such as those from Parsley Hay and hopefully a few more besides.

I have decided that two folding bikes (not necessarily a pair) would be best so that I can load them both into the car rather than having to affix a separate carrier each time we wanted to travel a distance and have narrowed it down to a few within our budget. I would now prefer a step through and for my wife it has to be as low a step as possible . My questions therefore relate a bit to the ancillaries.

1 Is front suspension worthwhile seeking out?
2 Would you advise disc front brakes over the rim variety?
3 Would hub gears be a definite advantage in terms of leading the bikes in and out of the car?
4 Are five levels of assistance a definite improvemnt over three?

She is only about 5'3" and although the Woosh Gale seems to fit the bill, I did read one comment that the larger battery sizes restrict the downward range of the saddle and I would ideally like the 13Ah battery to give range.

Any advice or comments would be welcome from a community which has already taught me a lot.
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
#2
Difficult questions. If you want to take bikes with a car, folding bikes take up a surprising amount of room. you need a very big boot to get two in. If you do it regularly, it might be worth getting a towbar and a towbar rack. The more expensive racks clip on in seconds and it's dead quick to strap the bikes on, so very convenient. I guess £600 to £800 would cover the towbar and rack.

Hub gears are less likely to be damaged if you throw a folded bike in the boot, but as long as you're careful to put the derailleur on the upper side, you shouldn't have any problems with derailleur gears. Some folding bikes have a guard over the derailleur to prevent damage.

Front suspension gives a more comfy ride, but at the expense of more weight. It's not the end of the world if you don't have it and the cheaper suspension can be pretty crappy anyway, so I go even-stevens on front suspension.

Disc brakes are better, but the cable ones they fit on electric folding bikes are pretty crappy and soon go out of adjustment, like the rim brakes. At least they give you the chance to upgrade to hydraulic disc brakes for about £50 a pair that are the bee's knees. Even the crappy cable disc brakes are probably better than any rim brakes you get on such bikes.

Three or five levels makes little difference. the 5 levels are normally on LCDs that show speed, distance as well, which can be useful. What's more important is how the motor gives its power. Nearly all the three-level ones are speed control, where you get full power as soon as you start pedalling until the speed is capped at one of the three levels. The five-level ones can be the same with 5 different speed caps or current control, where you get maximum speed in each level but a different amount of power. The latter type is much more desirable. Warning: most dealers haven't a clue about the difference between speed contol and current control, and they wouldn't have a clue which bike has which.
 

Trevormonty

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2016
1,135
57
11
NZ
#3
Most shocks for folding bikes small wheels a at budget end. Better fixed shock with balloon/fat tyres.
 

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
8,653
162
Southend on Sea
wooshbikes.co.uk
#4
She is only about 5'3" and although the Woosh Gale seems to fit the bill, I did read one comment that the larger battery sizes restrict the downward range of the saddle and I would ideally like the 13Ah battery to give range.
Both 13AH and 14.5AH batteries for the Gale have the same casing, only the cells inside differ.
Would two Gales fit in your car's boot? I may be able to answer that question if you let me know which car you drive.
I know the Ford Focus will take two folded Gales side by side.
 

JuicyBike

Trade Member
Jan 26, 2009
1,625
77
Derbyshire
www.juicybike.co.uk
#5
With the better weather around the corner (it is, isn't it?) I have been considering buying a couple of electric bikes for my wife and myself.
Ha ha. Soon will be AT, but snowing today at Parsley Hay (the best trail in the Peaks, IMO).

Looking better, but still cold for this weekend. If you go a little further into Ashbourne you can try almost all the options you mention at our shop there.
 

actomox

Finding my (electric) wheels
Jan 25, 2018
5
0
78
Merseyside
#6
Difficult questions. If you want to take bikes with a car, folding bikes take up a surprising amount of room. you need a very big boot to get two in. If you do it regularly, it might be worth getting a towbar and a towbar rack. The more expensive racks clip on in seconds and it's dead quick to strap the bikes on, so very convenient. I guess £600 to £800 would cover the towbar and rack.

Hub gears are less likely to be damaged if you throw a folded bike in the boot, but as long as you're careful to put the derailleur on the upper side, you shouldn't have any problems with derailleur gears. Some folding bikes have a guard over the derailleur to prevent damage.

Front suspension gives a more comfy ride, but at the expense of more weight. It's not the end of the world if you don't have it and the cheaper suspension can be pretty crappy anyway, so I go even-stevens on front suspension.

Disc brakes are better, but the cable ones they fit on electric folding bikes are pretty crappy and soon go out of adjustment, like the rim brakes. At least they give you the chance to upgrade to hydraulic disc brakes for about £50 a pair that are the bee's knees. Even the crappy cable disc brakes are probably better than any rim brakes you get on such bikes.

Three or five levels makes little difference. the 5 levels are normally on LCDs that show speed, distance as well, which can be useful. What's more important is how the motor gives its power. Nearly all the three-level ones are speed control, where you get full power as soon as you start pedalling until the speed is capped at one of the three levels. The five-level ones can be the same with 5 different speed caps or current control, where you get maximum speed in each level but a different amount of power. The latter type is much more desirable. Warning: most dealers haven't a clue about the difference between speed contol and current control, and they wouldn't have a clue which bike has which.
Thank you so much for your very comprehensive and helpful reply :)
 

actomox

Finding my (electric) wheels
Jan 25, 2018
5
0
78
Merseyside
#7
Both 13AH and 14.5AH batteries for the Gale have the same casing, only the cells inside differ.
Would two Gales fit in your car's boot? I may be able to answer that question if you let me know which car you drive.
I know the Ford Focus will take two folded Gales side by side.
I have a Skoda Yeti and had assumed lowering the back seats flat as there will only be two of us in the car
 

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
8,653
162
Southend on Sea
wooshbikes.co.uk
#8
The yeti's boot is much bigger than the Focus.
The standard 405/510-litre luggage compartment volume can be expanded to 1,760 litres with the rear seats removed.
I would fold one seat and strap both Gales with just the handlebars folded to that side. It's quick and simple to get the bikes in and out.

 

Amoto65

Pedelecer
Jul 2, 2017
91
18
55
Cheshire
#9
Hi there Actomox, Skoda do an internal bike rack which takes 2 bikes inside the car stood up with just their front wheels removed, easy and quick. I have one in my Skoda Roomster simple to use and keeps the bikes out of sight.
 

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
8,653
162
Southend on Sea
wooshbikes.co.uk
#10
Hi there Actomox, Skoda do an internal bike rack which takes 2 bikes inside the car stood up with just their front wheels removed, easy and quick. I have one in my Skoda Roomster simple to use and keeps the bikes out of sight.
the Minoura Vergo uses a similar idea and costs about £100:

 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
#11
Don't forget that you don't need to fold a folding bike completely. You can just drop down the handlebars, lower the seat and fold the pedals. Like that, a pair, or even 3 bikes would fit in an upright position in just about any estate-type car. A simple bike rack, a couple of bungees and some cushions, should complete the job.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RAD-Cycle-Products-Bicycle-Instant/dp/B003RX3G08
 

Trevormonty

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jul 18, 2016
1,135
57
11
NZ
#12
The 20" wheel nonfolding city bikes might work as well. With handle bars folded and seats down they should fit in most cars.

See Orbea Katu range for example.
 

actomox

Finding my (electric) wheels
Jan 25, 2018
5
0
78
Merseyside
#13
Thank you to all who have replied to my original post for your comments and suggestions.:):)
 

Danidl

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 29, 2016
3,732
191
67
Ireland
#14
Any of these ebikes are pretty heavy think about a ramp for walking them into the boot. Also a large rubber mat to protect the fabric in the car.
Don't dismiss the idea of an external towbar mounted carrier. Remember it's your back and you only have the one..
 
Oct 20, 2017
208
12
t'North
#15
Dont know if you are averse to fitting a tow bar or whatever but seriously, a wheel support rack on the back of the car is a fab way to move bikes. I had a three bike one for years and loved it. No mess in the car (you can even wash or service the bikes in the rack if you want), easy lift on etc. Buzz Rack are very decent

This give you a choice of bigger wheels, which (IMO) make a bigger difference to comfort than 16" wheel with/without suspension forks

Now I have to move 4 bikes and an off road Tandem the roof is my only option, still miss the ease of loading so much . . .

Have to disgree on trail choice mind, Monsal in to Cheedale is our favourite - and its only a few minutes from our house, last year we did it after school with the kids and had to hide in the shade of the trees and tunnels it was so hot!
 

Related Articles

Advertisers